THE UNEXPECTED ALWAYS ARRIVES UNEXPECTEDLY
Getting me to go to a church service is as difficult
as trying to get a barfly to try a glass of milk.
But my wife’s sincere broaching of the subject and her
desire to have us attend breaks me down and I should
be able to give belief a nod over my nonbelief for an hour.
I find myself liking the pomp and a few of the hymns,
napping a bit only when the minister in her sermon
drones on a bit too long about the perils of exceptionalism.
At the end, serenaded by the playing of bells, my wife and I
exit to the crisp air and a sharp pang of sunlight, city traffic
light but steady as we turn south, walking past the shuttered
meat house and the porn shop closed down only last week.
In a fine mood I tell my wife it might be possible angels
are congregating on the next block to greet us with a strong
hosannah or two, the holy ghost stopping briefly as well.
“There seems to be some commotion up ahead.” Could it be…
Palm trees ruffling
in the hottish air,
a group of girls
in yellow dresses
bright as butter
and the sad mainland
cousins who believe
they own the world
now, old tenements
dropping like flies
at the start of yellow
the umbrellas ready
for use by the courageous,
the high speed-rail
a dragon in its appetites,
dumplings steaming shyly
on the plates of those
who know the smallest
and best establishments,
the parks and wet markets
loudly speaking Cantonese,
the Star Ferry an elderly
relative who is still alive.
The day beginning its turn to night
The city gearing up for mayhem
The books building their beds
The country awash in colors it fears
The man, waiting, holding a woman’s coat
The birds swooping down for the jazz
WONDERING ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF WORDS
Killing time on the beach, the sand
shining like small halos on my sneakers.
The beautiful lobster-hued beauty of Provincetown—
between the sea and the older rainbow houses—
has gotten me thinking away:
Why is water not called an apple,
an apple not called water?
Fill’er up with ham hocks. Would you like
some sauce on your gasoline?
I watch the gulls, sails and boats, looking
now and then at the pier where my wife
will arrive and at the lighthouse
which could have been called a darkbus
had things been different, the orangeade sun
too magnificent to be called anything else.